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Our Certified Coaches

Salmon Bay Paddle is the leading provider of personalized one on one and small group stand up paddle board (SUP), kayak and surf ski lessons in the Pacific Northwest.  Meet my certified coaches!

Rob Casey

Rob Casey

Rob is the owner of Salmon Bay Paddle which he started in 2010. He took his first sea kayaking class in 1999 and soon got addicted to surf kayaking, kayak touring and whitewater kayaking. He began to focus on SUP in 2007. He’s the author of “Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers” and “Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans” both for Mountaineers Books. In 2013, he founded (PSUPA) Professional Stand Up Paddle Association.  He also serves on the WA State Park Paddle Sport Advisory Committee (PAC) and contributes paddling articles to several publications. Rob is also a co-founder of the Ballard Elks Paddling Club. He loves to freighter and coastal surf his 16′ Splinter SUP and surf ski!  He lives in Ballard and Port Angeles.

Kristy Gutierrez

Kristy Gutierrez

Kristy is an ACA L3 Coastal Kayak instructor and guide and has spent the last decade professionally guiding and coordinating outdoor recreation, education, and adventure travel experiences (kayaking, SUP, mountain biking). Her love for kayaking began with running whitewater rivers in the Southeast, moving to the West Coast really opened up her eyes to the wildly magnificent coastal paddling in the Pacific Ocean. She loves touring around the San Juan Islands and rock gardening in the whitewater of the sea along the rocky coast of Baja (or surfing any wave). Kristy also enjoys mountain biking, exploring the PNW and baking bread.

Scott Dahlquist

Scott Dahlquist

Scott is comfortable on both kayak and SUP and has the L5 kayak Advanced Open Water Coastal Kayak (AOWCK) Certification and is a L2 SUP instructor with ACA and has the British Canoeing Core Coach Award.  Scott is also on the Dagger Kayaks pro team. A recent transplant from San Diego, Scott loves to teach navigation, kayak rolling, sea kayak surfing and exploring Puget Sound.

Jonas Wofgang Ecker

Jonas Wofgang Ecker

Surf Ski instructor – From Bellingham, WA, Jonas has been paddling surfski’s and sprint kayaks since the age of 10. In sprint, Jonas has competed as a member of the US National Team since 2018 and currently holds all four Men’s K1 National titles. He most recently qualified to represent Team USA at the Senior World, U23 World, and Pan-American Championships this summer (2022). In ski, Jonas has taken podium spots at top events such as the Canadian Downwind Championships and the Gorge Downwind Championships. Jonas also explores the backcountry and is studying at the University of Washington for a Major in Marine Biology and a Minor in Chemistry.

Van Douglas

Van Douglas

Surf Ski instructor – Van has been surf ski and downwind paddling over 8 years in the Columbia River Gorge. He has raced in the PNW and Vortex racing series for 6 years taking podium spots in his division including the Gorge Downwind Championships. He’s travelled to South Africa, Hawaii, Costa Rica and Baja to paddle. Van has 20 years of experience as a whitewater kayaker and raft guide up to Class V in the Southeast. He has Wilderness First Aid and Swift Water Rescue certifications.

A resident of Hood River, Van also enjoys mountain biking and playing music with his band.

 

Jac Howard

Jac Howard

A native of Australia, and an avid open water swimmer, Jac started her SUP journey in 2013 with an impulse buy at Costco, looking for an easy way to “get out of the city.”  SUP technique and navigation/currents training from Salmon Bay Paddle have given Jac the ability to explore the epic PNW coastal environments of Washington, and she loves sharing this knowledge with others.

Thanks to a decent neoprene wardrobe, she paddles year round, races, loves a holiday costume paddle, and spends her days off exploring by SUP.  Joining the Salmon Bay Paddle team in May 2022, she enjoys introducing people to SUP technique and safety, with an emphasis on fun. She especially loves introducing women to what’s possible on the water, and helping kids learn through play.

Recently launching a daughter to college, she’s also a dance mom to a teenage boy. Her “other” job is helping organizations solve sticky problems, and drawing while people talk.

Robert Nissenbaum

Robert Nissenbaum

An adventure seeker, Robert has paddled much of the Puget Sound, kayaking and camping year-round, navigating tidal currents, wind, rough water, and large, open-water crossings. He is an ACA and BCU certified instructor, member of Washington Kayak Club, and instructor with the North Sound Sea Kayaking Association. He is a member of Qajaq USA and holds the ACA Advanced Communications Instructor Endorsement and can work with students with vision impairment or blindness, hearing impairment, deafness and speech impairments. Robert is an ambassador for ambassador for Turning Point BoatWorks and NC Kayaks.  When not on the water, he’s looking out to it writing from his home off Poverty Bay in Des Moines, WA.

Suzanne Westcott

Suzanne Westcott

Suzanne has been standup paddle boarding for 8 years, mainly in NW Washington coastal waters.  As the daughter of a fisherman from Rhode Island, she prefers being on the water to being on shore.  She works at an elementary school teaching students with special needs and believes anyone can learn to paddle if they are motivated and encouraged.   When not paddling, Suzanne can be found hanging out with her daughter, gardening, cleaning beaches or planning the next adventure; she’ll do anything to avoid cooking.

Brice Howard

Brice Howard

Brice will be leading our SUP river trips. Brice has been rowing on rivers and in open water since 2008, and has been paddle boarding rivers since 2016. He also has worked as a whitewater raft guide and has training in swift water rescue.  Currently, he can be found paddling year round at Jetty Island or on class 2-3 whitewater sections of the Skagit, Sauk, and Wenatchee rivers.

Alex Vaughan

Alex Vaughan

Alex started paddling when SUP started in the PNW.  He has shaped several SUPs and is a regular at many of the local races. In 2018, he completed the Seventy48 race under 30 hours.  Alex is PSUPA certified. He also loves to downwind, paddle Deception Pass and surf.  He works for Pirosky’s as a bakery manager.  On his free time, he likes to paddle to Golden Gardens for ice cream!

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